Next to expand existing Bluewater site by merging with two additional units


Land Securities has today announced that Next, the leading fashion brand, is to open a new 44,226sq ft store at Bluewater, Europe’s leading retail and leisure destination. Situated on Bluewater’s Thames Walk, Land Securities is creating the store by amalgamating two additional units into Next’s existing space.

Next’s decision to upsize follows a consistently strong performance by the brand at Bluewater. The creation of a larger store also coincides with the introduction of the latest store design concept, elements of which will be rolled out elsewhere in Next’s portfolio.

A key feature of the design, which has been developed in-house by Next in conjunction with Bluewater’s retail design and delivery team, is the use of natural light. The southern elevation of the store will have a section of full-height structural glazing, the first time the external fabric of Bluewater has been changed in this way. The glass will flood light into both levels of the store, as well as providing views of Bluewater’s chalk cliffs. Complementing the glass panel will be two large skylights, adding to the sense of light and space in the newly refitted store.

The upsize will allow Next to completely reconfigure the store, significantly increasing the sales area. In addition, Lipsy will relocate from its current location within Bluewater and become a store-within-a-store, with its own entrance on upper Thames Walk.

Work begins this month and will be undertaken in a series of phases, with the transformation due to be completed by the summer. Coinciding with Next’s upsize, Hotel Chocolat and Thomas Cook have relocated to larger stores,

1,493sq ft and 1,413sq ft respectively, with their former stores being integrated in the new Next.

Commenting on the news, a Next spokesperson, said: “Bluewater is a key location for Next.  We have long felt we could achieve even more, and are therefore delighted our ambition will now be realised.

“This is an exciting project for Next, one that reflects Bluewater’s unique attributes.  The sense of light and space in the store, combined with the new layout and merchandising, will significantly enhance the experience for our customers.”

Russell Loveland, portfolio director at Land Securities, said: “The creation of a new store for Next is consistent with our strategy of ensuring Bluewater offers not only the very best mix of leading UK and international brands, but unique concepts.  We have worked closely with Next on the design for this store, particularly on delivering the vision for natural light to play such a key role in the experience. Next’s new Bluewater store will be the perfect showcase for the brand.”

The announcement follows a very strong 2014 for Bluewater, with more than 20 brands investing with new store openings. These include American Eagle, White Stuff and Steamer Trading Cookshop, and bring the total of new additions to 80,000sq ft in the last 12 months. In addition, Bluewater achieved its best-ever year in terms of sales, aided by a strong Christmas.

CBRE acted for Bluewater. Next dealt directly.